Bringing Baby to Work.

by Leslie Morgan Steiner

 

Returning to work 12 weeks after my first baby arrived twisted me inside out even more than the process of giving birth. Leaving my baby felt like the vilest, most unnatural action I’d taken in my adult life. Paying a stranger to care for my infant while my breasts leaked and ached so that I could crunch numbers and sit in boring meetings for 10 hours? Screw you, God, I felt like screaming. Going back to work felt on par with abandoning my son by the side of the highway.

 

Although I stuck it out at work for not one but three babies, the end of maternity leave forces many women to confront the difficult decision to become a working mom or a stay-at-home mom – right when we’re most overwhelmed by new motherhood, hormones and sleep deprivation. It’s a terrifically vulnerable time to grapple with such a tough, lasting decision. Calling this decision a true “choice” is naïve, superficial and perhaps even insulting. Some moms simply cannot leave their infants with anyone – husband, nanny, daycare center – regardless of how rewarding and financially necessary we found our jobs until the moment we gave birth. The maternal desire to protect and care for babies is intensely strong by evolutionary design. Many women do not want to – or cannot – shove aside these powerful, natural maternal instincts in order to go back to work.

 

But imagine if you could take your baby to work? Problem solved. Okay, maybe only for a few months – but in the convoluted world of new motherhood, a few months can be a lifetime. If companies gave new moms more flexibility and the opportunity to transition gradually into working motherhood, wouldn’t more moms find a happy way to balance work and kids, instead of having to choose one or the other?

chiquito
11.05.10

As a result I grew up with a balanced amount of love and proper disipline. Going back to work was an easy choice for my mother knowing I would get the same loving care she got as a child. I don't have the benefit of living so close to my family any more. I have no children yet, but I would imagine having them in the work place would be quite a distraction!

zbraithwaite
02.24.10

Wow! Thank you, Leslie, for showcasing this as a potential solution to the dilemma so many women face. I couldn't agree with you more on your assessment of the emotional turmoil going back to work wreaks on so many women. It certainly did for me and your article really rang true. I hope this is a movement that gains traction because it really does seem like it could do wonders for that transition period.